I recently catered my first wedding. File that sentence under: things I never thought I’d say about my culinary career. As someone who is determined to find success in a field notorious for rejecting any conventional concept of the weekend, while fiercely protecting her own, catering was an obviously unwise path. Catering IS weekends, yo! That said, my career thus far has been largely guided by saying yes to all of the challenges (read: opportunities) that fell at my feet.
Thus, when I happened upon an article in the New York Times about a genuinely revolutionary food startup based in Berkeley, and subsequently reached out to its owner who could have extremely easily not give a damn about me, soon after starting working for her, I was AMPED. I said yes to everything. Yes to gigantic production runs in small kitchens, yes to testing and developing recipes for their flour, yes to carting the product an hour into the suburban sprawl that houses the shipping facility, yes to chatting up an endless sea of buyers at Natural Foods Expo West, and, when she got engaged, yes to catering her wedding.
I didn’t think very much before that last yes. It was knee-jerk; that was what I was used to saying to her proposals for me. Afterwards, I was TERRIFIED at THE PROPOSAL POST-PROPOSAL that I had just committed to. I’d worked hard to demonstrate the reliability of my support and the consistency of my work to her. If I failed to sustain that level of performance on the most important day of her life, all of that accrued trust could fly out the window, and I’d likely never live down my own disappointment in myself.
Without boring you with a drawn-out lead-up, because ain’t nobody got time for that, I will say that when gametime came, some shit hit the fan. Our kitchen was accidentally double-booked on our prep day causing our prep to take exceedingly longer than expected, my whip was not very accommodating to the literal fuck-ton of food we had to drive up to the wedding site, the wedding sites fridge made storing the prep feel like the most absurd game of tetris, the pizza dough had been thawed for TEN LITERAL TIMES (read: days) longer than it was supposed to be (recipe for the crowd favorite below, fresh dough included), the ceremony ended (and thus apps started) a FULL HOUR before we understood it would, and I had an embarrassingly major mental lapse in the process of making a sauce from a roux. Bottom line, at times we felt like complete window-lickers. Because we were.
Luckily, we were independent window-lickers, never licking the windows at the same time. This sheer, dumb, gut-busting-in-hindsight luck allowed us to pull everything off without anyone knowing we had licked windows, and namely without the bride knowing that her “mom-moms potato salad” dressing was just a basic vinaigrette and not a rendered bacon fat vinaigrette fashioned from a roux (surprise! It’s gluten-free!).
It was easily the most stressful thing I have ever done. Every other stressful thing I have tackled in life came with the knowledge that, no matter how many windows I licked, I could do it again. I could take a practical again, an exam again, there’d be other opportunities to window-lick-lessly succeed. A persons wedding leaves you with a singular chance for YAS-KWEEN-victory or wrenching, lifelong-stomach-turning failure. The emotional dump that came with releasing the months of built up anxiety I had accumulated around this event was one of the singular most bizarre feelings of my life (so bizarre, in fact, that in my delirium I thought that it was worthwhile to regale Shane with the entire plot and conclusion of Baby Boom starring Diane Keaton and her three inch 80’s power suit waist). Getting home and into bed felt like nothing short of being flung from a trebuchet, sailing through the air into a FIFTEEN HOUR sleep.
Like any stable human, I’m in talks with people about doing it again. YOLO FREAKS.
Meanwhile, back in the world of THIS IS A RECIPE BLOG, GIMME SOMETHING TO MAKE HOMESLICE: a flatbread that WON’T QUIT.
Photo Credit: A few MFC, but most Miranda Lee Morgan.